Category Archives: NCAA Hockey
OXFORD, Ohio – It started off shaky but ended up a successful start in net for Jordan Uhelski.
The senior stopped 17 shots to earn the win in his Miami debut, a 5-1 victory over Alabama-Huntsville at Cady Arena on Saturday.
The fact Uhelski earned his undergraduate degree at UAH had to make the outcome that much sweeter. He is working on his Master’s degree and had one year of eligibility remaining, which is why he was able to join the RedHawks without sitting out a season.
RECAP: Miami junior Carter Johnson drove the net and went top shelf to open the scoring 4:48 into the first period.
But exactly one minute later, an outside shot by the Chargers’ Austin Beaulieu beat Uhelski on the stick side on the team’s first shot of the game, tying the score.
The RedHawks (1-0) answered 42 seconds after that marker, as Karch Bachman skated across the top of the crease and tucked one past sprawled out goalie Mark Sinclair.
Early in the second period, Johnson was driving the when UAH’s Kurt Gosselin delivered a head shot and was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct. Johnson eventually skated off under his own power but did not return.
Miami made the Chargers (0-1) pay on the power play, as Gordie Green slammed home a rebound off a Bachman shot with 15:18 left in the middle stanza.
The RedHawks made it 4-1 with 9:46 remaining in regulation as a Derek Daschke one-timer found the corner of the net off a feed by Green.
Miami capped off the scoring with 2:17 to play when Jonathan Gruden centered a pass from the side of the net to a wide open Grant Hutton in the slot, and Hutton buried it.
STATS: After allowing a goal on the first shot he faced, Uhelski stopped the next 17.
Hutton, Green, Bachman and Daschke all finished with two points on a goal and an assist apiece as 11 different RedHawks recorded at least one point.
Those were the first career points for Daschke, and Gruden, Brian Hawkinson and River Rymsha also picked up their inaugural Miami points, all on helpers.
THOUGHTS: One game is obviously a very small sample size, but there was an energy at the rink that had been recently lacking.
The attendance was 2,702 on a day when it was 90 degrees and the football team played at Akron in the afternoon.
‘Reenergize’ is a term Coach Enrico Blasi said the team is using a lot these days. That was an apt description of the Cady atmosphere as well, which is a welcome improvement.
— There was a lot to like among the newcomers.
After allowing a soft goal early, Uhelski settled in nicely and made a pair of high-quality saves, including one on a semi-breakaway.
Gruden’s pass to Hutton for the final goal was pretty sweet, Hawkinson played with a lot of grit, Rymsha dished out a couple of solid hits and for 6-feet-6, Brayden Crowder seems pretty cool handling and moving the puck.
We’re delve more into the newcomers after Sunday’s game.
– Gosselin’s hit on Johnson was everything that hockey is trying to get away and warrants a suspension. He was issued a game misconduct and not a disqualification, which would’ve carried an automatic suspension and is disappointing.
He had Johnson lined up and had ample time to target somewhere other than the head but did so anyway.
And Johnson has been a fantastic story, as his game surged the second half of last season and he scored in this game before getting hurt. Now who knows when he’ll get back on the ice?
Let’s keep in mind too: Gosselin is UAH’s captain. I always rooted for the Chargers when they wasn’t playing Miami, but it’ll be a little harder to do so now.
– On Tuesday, coach Enrico Blasi said Ryan Larkin was the starter, but he was in a suit on Saturday. He had no obvious sign of injury, so hopefully this is just a one-game thing that happens frequently the first game of a season.
— One thing about Coach Enrico Blasi: He’s totally unafraid of using freshmen in high-leverage spots, even in their first games. At one point three rookies manned the penalty kill.
— We saw a lot of line combinations, partly because of Johnson’s early injury. Definitely a feeling out process for all of the skaters, which is not unexpected considering the number of newcomers.
— Miami resisted the urge to pound Charger tail after the major on Johnson, and that resulted in a power play goal. It would’ve been tough to find fault with the RedHawks if they had gone after Gosselin though.
FORWARDS: B+. Liked Bachman in this one and Johnson stood out until his injury. Both scored early goals. Green scored as well and was his typical solid self. Faceoff stats were excellent: Monte Graham finished 11-5 and Josh Melnick went 9-6 to lead this corps.
DEFENSEMEN: A-. Helped hold UAH to 17 shots while combining for 16 themselves. Very few Grade-A chances against. Hutton and Daschke both went 1-1-2 and Alec Mahalak and Rymsha both earned assists.
GOALTENDING: B. Definitely could’ve used a mulligan on the goal allowed, but Uhelski turned aside the next 17, including a pair of high-percentage chances. A good debut for the former-Charger-turned-RedHawk.
LINEUP: Uhelski was a surprise in net but Blasi said earlier this week that Larkin was the primary starter. On defense, 2017-18 regular Chaz Switzer was scratched, as was part-timer Grant Frederic. Freshman Andrew Sinard was the other blueliner who did not dress. Up front sophomore Christian Mohs and freshman Noah Jordan were casualties. That means eight Miami players made their RedHawks debuts – six freshmen and graduates Rymsha and Uhelski.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Alabama-Huntsville doesn’t look ready to challenge for an NCAA title but it was still a good win to open the season for MU.
And by the way, the RedHawks’ last win in their season debut was 2013.
With so many making their Miami debuts – both on the ice and the bench – getting victory under the belt has to provide a confidence boost.
UP NEXT: Miami plays in the Ice Breaker Tournament in Erie, Pa., next weekend. The RedHawks open with Providence at 4 p.m. on Friday and will face either Mercyhurst or Notre Dame on Saturday.
OXFORD, Ohio – Miami hockey has not seen a large number of transfers, and even fewer switch colleges from New England to become RedHawks.
And although former Boston College defenseman and Montréal Canadiens draft pick Colin Sullivan has battled injuries throughout his collegiate career, he is completely healthy for the stretch run of his senior career.
“He puts in the work every day in practice, he’s always looking to get better,” senior and student coach Johnny Wingels said. “Early on the ice, late off the ice, it’s nice to see a good kid like him get his opportunity now and be rewarded for it.”
Sullivan originally committed to Yale while playing for Avon, a prestigious prep school near his hometown of Milford, Conn. He and his family decided he should remain at Avon to complete his high school years, and he decommitted from Yale and signed with Boston College.
He joined the Eagles in the fall of 2012, a year after being selected in the seventh round by Montréal.
“You’re playing for the best coach – and arguably the most decorated coach in college hockey,” Sullivan said. “Jerry York was an amazing coach, and it was a fun experience. My whole family’s from the Boston area, so it was nice having them come to every single one of my games.”
Sullivan logged 32 games with Boston College his freshman season, but playing time was an issue and he decided to pursue other options. Transferring players have to sit out for a season, and Sullivan joined USHL Green Bay while in limbo, accumulating a pair of goals and six assists in 41 games during 2013-14.
Fortunately for the RedHawks, a former MU forward contacted Sullivan and played a key role in bringing him to Oxford.
In prep school, Kevin Morris played for rival Salisbury with Sullivan’s best friend.
“Kevin shot me a text and asked me if I was interested in Miami, and of course I was,” Sullivan said. “I’d never been to the campus and was interested that someone was actually going to take a look at me. When I came here for a visit I just fell in love with the place, so playing New England prep school actually brought me here with the connections that I had back there.”
After his redshirt year, Sullivan was ready to contribute as a sophomore. But after dressing for three of Miami’s first four games in 2014-15, he was shut down with a recurring groin injury.
“It was just so frustrating to come so close, to being in the lineup again, and all in the sudden you have to take your foot off the gas pedal and go back to square one,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan logged just nine games his sophomore season, picking up a lone assist in the best-of-3 home playoff series vs. Western Michigan.
Wingels, a defenseman himself and brother of Ottawa Senators forward Tommy Wingels, tried to help Sullivan through his transitional period.
“I think he had a unique experience at Boston College, and he lost some confidence there,” Wingels said. “And I was just telling him that he needs to play his game. Boston College is a great hockey school – they have the history that they have, and he was clearly good enough to be able to commit there – so it was just a matter of getting his confidence back, because he clearly has it in him to be a good player at this level.
“It’s never fun to lose your confidence as a player, because that’s something that’s very difficult to get back. You just have to fight through it sometimes, and it might take longer than you’d hoped.”
Junior year started off with plenty of promise, as Sullivan scored his first college goal in the season opener vs. Providence, juking a defender in the slot before burying a top-shelf wrister.
“I kind of blacked out to be honest with you,” Sullivan said. “We were playing Providence, too – my whole family went to Providence, it was down to Providence and Miami – so it was nice to get a goal against them.”
But after going under the knife for the fourth time for his groin injury, Sullivan said he tried to come back too soon, as he was limited to six games the first two months. Fortunately he was healthy for the second half of 2015-16 and was in the lineup 15 times.
Last summer was the first in three years that Sullivan did not require off-season surgery, but he still had trouble getting back on the ice. He did not dress for five of the RedHawks’ first eight games last fall.
“It was definitely frustrating,” Sullivan said. “Everyone’s got to pay their dues, and I think I definitely have, but it’s something where you put your nose to the grindstone and work hard every day, do what you need to do, and finally I’m back in the lineup and hopefully making a positive impact and helping us win some hockey games.”
His attitude and hard work eventually paid off. Finally, nearly four years after transferring from Boston College, the search for more ice time that drove him to Oxford is coming to fruition.
Sullivan has played in 20 consecutive games and has three assists, all in his last nine contests.
And that confidence that earned him an NHL draft pick and a spot on Boston College’s blue line is finally back.
“For me, confidence is really key,” Sullivan said. “I rely so much on my skating and my mobility – not feeling that pain down there. Even when it was heeled, I would kind of mentally expect to feel that pain. It’s just crazy how much of a mental effect being injured has on your entire body. Now I’m at the point where that’s not a factor any more. I feel like the old Colin Sullivan again.”
He picked up helpers in back-to-back games for the first time in his Miami career on Dec. 31 at Ohio State and Jan. 6 vs. St. Cloud State. Sullivan also earned an assist on Willie Knierim’s game winner vs. Western Michigan on Jan. 28 with a well-placed stretch pass.
“It’s taking me back to high school when I’m totally healthy and I’m having fun playing again,” Sullivan said. “There was a stretch mentally where I’d come back for a couple of games and I’d get hurt again, and I’d come back for a couple of games and I’d get hurt again. I was never 100 percent. Now that I’m back on track, I’m on cloud nine right now.”
Making Sullivan even more useful to the team is his ability to play forward. He has been listed on the fourth line several times this season, enabling the team to dress a seventh blueliner.
“Any way that I can help the team,” Sullivan said. “If Coach wants me to strap on the pads and go in play in net, I’ll gladly do that. If he wants me to sit in the corner and stand on my head for three hours, I’ll do that too. Whatever it’s going to take to help the team, and I can take a couple of faceoffs, and be a (fourth-line forward) and give the top-line guys a little break, and go out and do that too, yeah, definitely.”
Sullivan and classmates Wingels and Justin Greenberg have become close friends at Miami, and both said one of his best personality attributes is his sense of humor.
“When (Sullivan) transferred here he was sort of in between classes for a little bit while his credits were figured out, and he ultimately got slotted into my class, which is great because we got to spend another year with him,” Wingels said. “He’s a great guy – he’s probably one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, and there’s never a dull time when you’re around him.”
Both Wingels and Greenberg have gone through their share of injury issues as well, and Sullivan’s positive attitude has helped them deal with their respective issues.
“Even with right now, with me being hurt (lower-body injury), he’s so positive,” Greenberg said. “He’s going to be a groomsman in my wedding, we’re so close. We do everything together. He’s just a great guy.”
Greenberg said he also noticed the improvement in Sullivan’s game as the months have passed since his injury.
“This year, it’s not just that he’s gotten in the lineup, but he’s contributing and playing well,” Greenberg said. “Making great plays and he’s learned to defend with his feet, and he’s really made an impact – in my opinion – when he’s played, since I’ve been watching. I tend to watch him more since I’m so close with him and I think he’s played great this year.”
Sullivan is also a favorite among his hockey peers, according to Greenberg.
“He would do anything for anyone on this team,” Greenberg said. “If you went through the locker room, there’s not one guy that say they don’t love Sully. He’s the best. I can’t say enough good things about him, and I’m sure most people wouldn’t be able to either.”
Now healthy, Sullivan would like to continue playing hockey after he graduates this spring. He is a history major with a minor in entrepreneurship, boasting a 3.3 grade-point average.
But in addition to his ultimate pursuit of a traditional job, Sullivan plans on joining the military for four-plus years, and is especially interested in special forces.
“I want to serve my country before I reap the benefits from it,” Sullivan said. “I think that whole lifestyle and the aspect of being on a team – and those guys are super-competitive guys, high-octane guys – I just want to be around that. It’s going to be similar to here, same exact kind of guys, Division I athletes. I just think that’s something that I would really enjoy.”
Though everything hasn’t worked out as Sullivan had originally planned when he moved here from New England, transferring to Miami is something he has never regretted.
“If I could do it all over again, Miami is definitely the place where I’d want to go,” Sullivan said. “Coming from out east, you don’t hear about Miami University – everybody thinks I play hockey in Miami, Florida – which is interesting. Coming out here, it’s all cornfields and farmland, and the minute I drove down High Street, I said, mom, dad, this is where I want to be, this is the right fit.”
OXFORD, Ohio – Miami scored first on Saturday, but that would be the RedHawks’ lone highlight.
Bowling Green netted the next four goals and dominated on the shot counter, 41-18 in a 4-1 win at Cady Arena.
That gave the Falcons their first win of the season and snapped a five-game unbeaten streak for Miami. It was also the RedHawks’ first home loss of 2016-17. MU was 19-1-1 vs. BGSU in the teams’ last 21 meetings.
Seven minutes into the game, Carson Meyer skated in and drew multiple defenders to him before sliding a pass across the slot to Anthony Louis, who knocked home his five goal of the season.
But with 4:45 left in the opening period, Chris Pohlkamp threw a wrister on net, and Pierre-Luc Mercier threw in a long rebound allowed by MU goalie Ryan Larkin to tie it.
Just 45 seconds later, Miami’s Karch Bachman turned the puck over in the slot, and on a resulting 2-on-0, Mitch McLain fed Matt Pohlkamp for a slam-dunk goal to make it 2-1.
Bowling Green (1-6-1) extended its lead with 5:43 left in the middle frame as Tyler Spezia drove from the left wing, put the puck on the side of the net, and John Schilling punched it from the back of the cage off the back of Larkin and in.
Mark Friedman banged home a loose puck from the top of the crease to cap off the scoring with 10:23 left in regulation.
Louis has scored all five of his goals in the RedHawks’ last four games.
Meyer extended his points streak to four games, notching seven in that span. Defenseman Jared Brandt also assisted on that goal, picking up his first collegiate point.
Miami (3-2-1) managed exactly six shots in each period. The last time the RedHawks were outshot by a 2-to-1 margin at home was Jan. 17, 2014 vs. Nebraska-Omaha.
MU will head to Western Michigan next weekend for its first conference games of the season. Both games will start at 7:05 p.m.
OXFORD, Ohio – It’s a pretty safe bet that none of the footage from the first two periods of Friday’s game will make any highlight reels.
But the third period and overtime made up for the relatively action-free first 40 minutes of hockey, culminating in an OT winner by Anthony Louis as Miami edged Bowling Green, 2-1 at Cady Arena.
The Falcons recorded 14 shots on goal through the first two yawn-inducing periods. The RedHawks fared even worse, generating just 10. And most of those 24 were low-percentage chances, easily swallowed up by goaltending equipment.
To BGSU’s credit, that was probably the game plan. The Falcons (0-6-1) had allowed 29 goals in six games and did not have the speed or skill to match Miami’s top two lines.
So they played tight D. And very well.
Miami (3-1-2) struggled to create any kind of transition and seemed to have no room to complete passes anywhere on the ice.
But while the RedHawks’ offense was non-existent most of the night, they still found a way to win. And they found a way to win after squandering a one-goal lead late.
This won’t be the only time this season Miami has to play a team that suffocates its forwards, and the RedHawks will still need to find a way to earn victories like they did on Friday.
– First, Josh Melnick coming off late in the third period is a major concern. He took a shift with two minutes left in regulation, did not appear to get hit or fall awkwardly and left the ice showing no ill effects, yet he was not on the bench for overtime. In the Captain Obvious statement of the day, Miami cannot to be without Melnick for any length of time, even if that length is a few shifts.
– Miami also had to play with five defensemen for the majority of the second period, as Jared Brandt left after suffering what appeared to be a high hit along the boards. Brandt has been one of the team’s top shutdown defensemen early this season. He returned and appeared 100 percent for the balance of the game.
– Not a fan of criticizing officiating, which was pretty solid most of the game, but it’s baffling that Carter Johnson was assessed a major for interference in the third period but Bowling Green was handed a minor for a boarding penalty during which Louie Belpedio was slammed from behind after being lined up for a couple of seconds. Across the board, hockey has been rightly cracking down on those types of hits, and Belpedio’s numbers were clearly visible the entire time he was along the boards. The reasoning is most likely because the Falcons player remained down for some time while Belpedio bounced right back up, which should not be the way penalties should be decided, if for no other reason because it encourages embellishment. But BGSU did not score on its five-minute power play and Miami netted the game winner after the boarding call, so all was ultimately good for the RedHawks.
– Yes, Carson Meyer scored the goal and picked up an assist on the other, so it’s easy to point to him as a hero in this game. But from the first game of this homestand to this one, he has gotten significantly better in every facet, which is partly why he is in position to pick up points.
– Louis is up to 94 career points, pulling to within six of the elusive 100-point club. Fifty Miami players have reached that mark. It’s amazing how much Louis’ all-around game has improved from junior year to this one. And oh yeah, he forced a turnover at center ice, which was picked by Melnick, leading to the first goal.
FORWARDS: C-. It was trending toward ‘F’ land after two periods, but obviously two goals bolsters their collective grade. Lines 2-4 were nearly non-existent all night, which Bowling Green’s defense deserves much credit for. As much credit as Louis deserves, he didn’t pick up Mark Friedman when he scored from point-blank range to tie it.
DEFENSEMEN: B+. During this homestand, this corps hasn’t done too much to get noticed, and that’s meant as a compliment. They came up big during the major PK, especially Scott Dornbrock, who stepped up his play in the third period for the second straight game.
GOALTENDING: A-. It looked like Ryan Larkin got a piece of the tying goal, but it still slipped over his blocker. It’s probably one that he should’ve had, but it was still a great shot from in close. He stopped 20 of 21 shots and has allowed just one goal in two games and six in his last five. He gives Miami a chance to win every night and is spoiling fans.
LINEUP CHANGES: Coach Enrico Blasi did not change any of the forwards from last Saturday, playing Alex Alger over Willie Knierim for the second straight game. Alger had an assist on Saturday and was absolutely robbed by Chris Nell on a would-be goal in the first period of this game. Blasi continues to get all eight of his defensemen playing time, as Colin Sullivan sat in favor of Bryce Hatten. Larkin has still logged every minute in net – 370-plus at present – and Andrew Masters again served as the backup.
OXFORD, Ohio – For Miami, the third overtime was a charm.
After battling to a pair of ties early this season, RedHawks senior Anthony Louis scored in the extra session to lift Miami to a 2-1 win over Bowling Green at Cady Arena on Friday.
The RedHawks extended their unbeaten streak to five games (3-0-2) and remained undefeated in Oxford this season (2-0-2).
The teams combined for just 24 shots in the first two periods, with the Falcons leading, 14-10.
But 10 seconds into the third period, Louis slid a pass to a streaking Carson Meyer at the side of the net, and he roofed it to five Miami the lead.
Miami (3-1-2) was able to kill a major penalty assessed to Carter Johnson for interference, but the Falcons generated the equalizer on a 6-on-5 with 1:06 left in regulation. That’s when Mark Friedman wired a shot just inside the far post from the faceoff circle, sending the game to overtime.
Bowling Green (0-6-1) was assessed a boarding penalty a minute into the fourth stanza, and Louis made the Falcons pay. He was left alone to penetrate from the side of the net, and he fired one between the legs of goalie Chris Nell to win it with 2:55 left in the frame.
Meyer and Louis both finished with a goal and an assist. Meyer has five points in his last two games, and Louis has recorded points in four straight contests and goals in his last three.
They are tied for second on the team with seven points apiece. Louis leads MU with four goals.
Goalie Ryan Larkin stopped 20 shots in the win, but he saw his scoreless streak end at 124:57.
Josh Melnick ended a short shift with two minutes remaining in regulation and did not return, and the reason is unclear. He did not appear to be in discomfort when he left the ice.
The series finale is at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Friday’s game was an interesting mix of both halves of Miami’s season: The first portion when the RedHawks couldn’t score and the most recent segment when they could.
Miami scored four times in the final 28 minutes to beat Bowling Green, 4-1 at BGSU Ice Arena after failing to hit the net on 16 first-period shots and a handful more in the middle stanza before breaking through.
The RedHawks scored an average of 2.07 goals in calendar year 2015 of this season and are netting 2.92 in 2016. Not coincidentally, Miami was 5-9-2 on New Year’s Day and is 7-4-1 since.
And the RedHawks have found scoring from other sources than Jack Roslovic and Josh Melnick. They’ve had to, as both have two markers in their last 11 games.
Sean Kuraly is back to his 19-goal form of 2014-15. Anthony Louis is doing his Anthony Louis second-half studly thing. Kiefer Sherwood was coming into his own before joining Roslovic’s top line and he’s thriving now.
BoB has said since August that with its core of veteran defensemen and goalies, this team would be fine if it can score enough. Now it is.
Miami has allowed five goals three times in its last 11 outings, all losses. MU is 7-0-1 when allowing three or fewer in that stretch.
Friday’s crowd was a hostile one as well, and seeing the RedHawks play so well in that environment bodes well for them the next couple of weeks, as they will visit Western Michigan and Minnesota-Duluth, sandwiching a home series vs. Colorado College to wrap up the regular season.
Five wins in those final six would be optimal, four would get Miami over .500 but probably not where it needs to be in PairWise. Three or fewer would be a disaster against the fourth, seventh and eighth place teams in the NCHC.
The way the RedHawks are playing right now, there’s an excellent chance they win the majority of their remaining regular season games and earn home ice for the first round of the NCHC Tournament.
– This was a tough game to watch as a Miami fan, because one (OK, I) got the feeling the hot goalie – BGSU’s Nell – might steal one. He made some good saves and the RedHawks missed some great chances. The Louis goal seemed to open the floodgates, and after the Kuraly goal, MU did an outstanding job of fending off the Falcons’ ensuing surge at the end of the second period.
– Speaking of Louis, I have no idea how he scored the equalizer. He had no apparent angle to shoot at and somehow was able to roof one. What a great way to make up for fanning on a high-quality opportunity earlier.
– Really impressed with Kiefer Sherwood since January. Having a future NHL star in Roslovic on your line doesn’t exactly hurt, but it feels like he’s going to put up huge offensive numbers in his four years in Oxford. He was involved in a pushing match in the first period with a chippy BGSU team, and that seemed to elevate his game, the sign of a strong player.
– These were definitely not NCHC officials. There were 11 total power plays – seven for Miami, tying a season high – including a pair of two-man advantages. Don’t have the stats for it, but I can’t remember Miami or an opponent having a 5×3 all season. It’s rare to see a team with four or more power plays in a game with NCHC referees. Definitely inconsistent.
– Great BGSU crowd. The rink was sold out, and the Falcons fans were enthusiastic and into the game, which unfortunately is not always the case in Oxford. Best of luck to Bowling Green the rest of the season in its quest for the NCAAs.
FORWARDS: A-. Really liked the Melnick-Gacek-Louis (AJA – Anthony, Josh, Alex) line. The Crash Cousins line was also strong, barring a bad turnover by Conor Lemirande at his defensive blue line which fortunately didn’t result in a goal. Loving that top line, of course, which accounted for two goals. If we had to nitpick, and that’s what we do, Roslovic is still too committed to carrying the puck through multiple defenders, and as a result he turned it over too often.
DEFENSEMEN: A. Bowling Green was super aggressive, leading to some solid scoring chances, but this corps did a great job of shutting most down. Louie Belpedio broke up a 3-on-1, and Chris Joyaux and Grant Hutton shut down quality opportunities as well. Taylor Richart did his unsexy shut-down thing as well, as did Matthew Caito, who pumped in the clinching empty netter.
GOALTENDING: A. Jay Williams had to deny a clean breakaway 52 seconds into the game, and he shagged it cleanly to set the pace for the rest of the game. He had to make his best stops in the first period, and Bowling Green scored on a point-blank tip that he had little chance on. Williams has appeared in 11 straight games with no end in sight, and hopefully he won’t tire down the stretch run, as it appears he is this team’s only option for the immediate future.
LINEUP CHANGES: Joyaux was back in the lineup, replacing Colin Sullivan on the blue line, and Andrew Schmit was back on the fourth line, replacing Ryan Siroky, who sat for just the second time in 2015-16. Devin Loe centered the Crash Cousins’ line, which played well with the exception of the aforementioned Lemirande turnover. Still no word on goalie Ryan McKay, who is suspended indefinitely. Evan McCarthy remains Miami’s backup in net.
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – Miami’s seven-game road losing streak seems like an eternity ago.
The RedHawks fell behind early before scoring the final four goals en route to a 4-1 win vs. Bowling Green at BGSU Ice Arena on Friday, extending their winning streak to three games away from Oxford.
MU’s last road loss came over two months ago at Colorado College.
Senior center Sean Kuraly netted the game-winning goal, the 12th of his career, as he moved into a tie for third place all-time on the Miami leaderboard, tying him with Andy Miele and Reilly Smith.
Kuraly finished with a goal and an assist, giving him four multi-point games in his last six contests and 12 points in his last eight (4-8-12).
In the first minute, Miami senior goalie Jay Williams was forced to stop a breakaway after a stretch pass.
With 8:18 left in the first period, BGSU (16-10-6) took the lead when Brent Tate tipped home a blue-line wrister from Sean Walker in the closing seconds of a power play.
But the second period was kind to the RedHawks once again.
Miami (12-13-3) tied it when junior forward Anthony Louis roofed a shot from the side of the net on a two-man advantage with 7:23 left in the frame.
Less than three minutes later, Kuraly tipped in a change-up wrister from the blue line by sophomore defenseman Scott Dornbrock to put the RedHawks ahead for good, 2-1.
That was the sixth goal in a row Miami had scored in the second period. Fortunately for the RedHawks, they bucked that trend in the final stanza.
Freshman forward Kiefer Sherwood banged home a loose puck with 6:09 left in regulation to give Miami a two-goal lead.
Senior defenseman Matthew Caito iced it with an empty netter in the closing minutes.
Kuraly has scored four times in his last six games, and Sherwood netted his fourth in seven. Louis has pumped in four in eight games.
Caito scored his 16th career goal, moving him into seventh on the school’s career leaderboard, tying him with 1996 graduate Pat Hanley.
Freshman defenseman Grant Hutton recorded his first multi-point game, tallying a pair of assists. He has four helpers in his last three games after picking up just one through 25 contests.
Freshman forward Josh Melnick has recorded a point in eight of nine games, finishing with one assist.
Senior goalie Jay Williams stopped 21 shots to earn the win, the 43rd of his career. He is three away from Connor Knapp for fourth place all-time at Miami.
The RedHawks jumped to a tie for 19th in the PairWise rankings with the win. They would likely need to be in the top 13 to be a safe bet for an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.
Nebraska-Omaha won on Friday, moving into a tie with Miami for fifth place in the NCHC standings, and the Mavericks have a game in hand over the RedHawks.
Miami is off until next Friday, when they travel to Kalamazoo, Mich., for a series at Western Michigan.
at BGSU 1-0-0–1
First period–1. BGSU, Tate 4 (Walker, Bednard), ppg, 11:42.
Second period–2. Mia., Louis 7 (Melnick, Belpedio), ppg, 12:37; 3. Mia., Kuraly 6 (Dornbrock, Hutton) 15:15.
Third period–4. Mia., Sherwood 7 (Kuraly, Roslovic) 13:51; 5. Mia., Caito 4 (Hutton), eng, 18:13.
Power plays–Miami 1 for 7; Bowling Green 1 for 4. Shots on goal–Miami 16-14-19–49; Bowling Green 8-7-7–22. Goalies–Miami, Williams (21 of 22 shots saved); Bowling Green, Nell (45 of 49). Referees–Tommy Albindia, Brett Klosowski. Linesmen–Andrew Hempel, Frank Hempel. Attendance–4,025. Time–2:16.
OXFORD, Ohio – Miami was due to have a close one go its way in dramatic fashion.
In a season that has seen the RedHawks fall twice in overtime and several other times on third-period goals, they beat Bowling Green, 2-1 at Cady Arena on Saturday when senior forward Anthony Louis buried a shot with two seconds remaining in regulation.
For at least one night, a lot of good things happened for this program, but at four games below .500, much work must be done just to get to respectability.
Taking this one game, though, a win like this can do much to turn any negative attitudes around. Rejuvenate players who – especially at such a young age – may have subconsciously begun to give up on the season.
Students are coming back from their J-term as well, which means crowds should pick up, and the buzz from this contest can do nothing but help gate receipts the rest of this campaign.
This wasn’t the best game Miami has played this season, but the RedHawks were good enough to win.
With their lack of offensive firepower, they would need to win a lot games with scores like 2-1. We’ll find out in the coming weeks if they can make winning a habit or if they are a habitual tease.
Either way, it was fun to be at the rink for this one.
– And yes, while the finale made it all worth it, Saturday’s game was flat-out boring for the most part until Louis’ heroics. Choppy play, good defensive play, bad offensive play, linemen who thought they were paid by the hour that should’ve carried penalty flags with the number of false starts and illegal motions they delayed puck drops for. It happens. Not every game can be like, well, every one at the end of last regular season, especially when both teams average a little over two goals per game.
– After not returning to the bench for the third period last Saturday and not practicing on Monday, senior goalie Ryan McKay was scratched for this tilt. That means freshman third goalie Evan McCarthy was technically the backup. Following McKay’s fourth goal against vs. Minnesota-Duluth last week on a poor clear, McKay threw his stick down the hall after coming off the ice, and he yelled something to the team and/or coaches, which is presumably why he was not dressed. It’s unclear how long McKay will be scratched, but with Miami’s grueling upcoming stretch run, it needs both of its quality goaltenders.
– While Miami’s power play has been dreadful in recent weeks – 1-for-20 in its last eight games with two shorthanded goals allowed – the penalty kill is tops in the NCAA at 94.1 percent, leading Division I by over three points. RedHawks opponents have not scored on the man advantage in five straight games.
– Louis has been a second-half player his first two seasons, and with the offensive losses Miami has suffered – and its resulting 2.10 goals-per-game average – the RedHawks NEED him to have a strong second half. This game was a great start.
FORWARDS: C. Not a ton to see here. Outside of Alex Gacek’s slam-dunk goal and his set up of Louis’ game winner, this unit didn’t generate nearly enough offensive pressure. Much of this is due to Bowling Green’s defense, but Miami has created more chances against better teams this year. The line jumbling – which is justifiable in large part – didn’t help, as chemistry seemed to be off.
DEFENSEMEN: B-. Even though the Falcons only scored once, this corps made a few more mistakes than usual, especially early. Most memorably, Mark Cooper missed a completely open net after a breakdown deep in the defensive zone. It wasn’t one of senior Chris Joyaux’s best nights, although overall this season has been his best.
GOALTENDING: B+. Early on, it appeared Miami was in huge trouble, as senior Jay Williams struggled in net, and classmate Ryan McKay was not dressed, giving the team no safety valve. Williams allowed the first goal on a shot from beyond the top of the faceoff circle under his left arm and seemed to have trouble picking up the pick in the opening period. However, he was huge the final 40 minutes, making at least one huge save on a point-blank chance. His rebound control was outstanding, and he has now cut his 5.35 goals-against average from a couple of weeks ago – the result of being left in for seven goals opening night vs. Providence – nearly in half, ending the night at 2.83 for the season.
LINEUP CHANGES: Senior forward Michael Mooney was out up front after playing last Saturday, and junior Devin Loe sat for the second straight game. On defense, junior Colin Sullivan was a scratch after playing four of the past five games. Freshman Grant Hutton was out for the first time this season last Saturday but was back on the ice in this one. It’s unclear how long Williams will have the starting goalie joy uncontested, but McKay is smart and it’s likely he will right any wrongs within the team sooner than later.